On July 5, 1865 the Secret Service Division was created in order to suppress counterfeit money. Since that time, the Service has hired qualified men and woman who excel in recognizing and tracking counterfeits. Between the years 2005 and 2008 the Secret Service boasted an impressive 29,000 criminal arrests for counterfeiting, they seized more than $259 million in counterfeit currency, and prevented a potential loss of more than $12 billion. Those would be impressive end-of-the-year numbers for anyone.
At the end of his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul warns us against the “wiles of the devil” (6:11). He says we must stand, or rather resist and oppose, him. This is a daunting charge to any who understand the character of the enemy. He’s crafty, strategic, and cunning (see Genesis 3:1); not to mention he’s smarter, more patient, and stronger than men. For this reason no ordinary armor will aide the believer in standing against him. We need the “whole armor of God.” None other will do. But our tendency is to rush headlong into battle being equipped with our own armor. If this were not so, Paul wouldn’t need to emphasize twice the need to put on God’s armor. Consider for a moment some of the armor you think will make you stand:
1. Human Wisdom: The world has remedies for everything, 7 Easy Steps for Your Best Life Now. The problem is that most of these solutions are driven by human wisdom. So often it’s worldly means, worldly methods, and worldly strategies. But Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that the wisdom of man is the foolishness of God. Can you really fight the wiles of Satan with foolishness?
2. Rules: One of the greater errors of the Pharisees was to surround the law of God with human traditions to serve as barriers. They thought if they did this people would be “safer” from crossing the line. We tend to do this in our lives as well–rule after rule is imposed (consciously or subconsciously) so that we think we can stand when the devil assaults us. Don’t touch! Don’t taste! Don’t handle! Paul addressed this very issue in Colossians when he wrote, “Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh” (2:23).
3. Reputation: In recent years the public sphere has watched (with some happiness) renowned professed Christians fall from grace. This should serve as a warning to us all. A reputation, how ever esteemed and great it is, is not enough to cause us to stand. It doesn’t matter if you’re the “good” kid, or the “raised in the Christian home” kind of person. Your reputation as an elder, or being smart, or being a good sports player doesn’t increase your ability to stand in the day of evil. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
4. Willpower: Think you can stand in the day of evil with your own willpower? Think again. Satan is more persistent than you and he knows how to whittle you down. Anyone who has ever struggled with temptation know this. At first our willpower seems so strong. “Absolutely not!” we say. But this soon gives way to “No” and then to “I don’t think so,” and then to “Maybe,” and then to “Okay, but only once,” and then suddenly that “absolutely not” has become “Yes.”
The point is you need a strong defense and it’s not found in anything “of men.” We need the armor of God. Anything less than this is a counterfeit armor and Satan, who has been studying humanity since the beginning of the world, knows well how to spot a counterfeit. And when he does you can be sure that he aims his arrows at the weakest and most unguarded spots.